One of the wedding reception’s most cherished traditions is toasting the happy couple. Customarily, the toast is given with champagne, but sparkling cider or even water is fine as well.
At a sit-down dinner reception, champagne is usually poured after everyone has been seated. If the wedding reception is more of a “cocktail” type where guests are either standing or seated at small tables, the champagne or beverage of choice is poured after everyone has gone through a receiving or after the couple has entered and been introduced.
It is the best mans responsibility to get the attention of the guests to propose a toast to the bride and groom. Often the best man is the only one giving a toast, however others certainly can. Often the fathers offer welcome toasts to each other’s families and guests to express their happiness at their children’s union. The maid of honor and other members of the wedding party may also propose toasts. The groom may even want to toast his bride and new parents-in-law. If a letter or telegram has been sent by someone who was unable to attend and yet wants to express his/her well wishes, it can be read by the best man at that time.
Who stands and who sits during a toast? Everyone should rise for the toasts to the bride and groom, but they should remain seated. If a toast is directed to the bride only, the groom should rise as well to honor her. If the toast is directed to either of their parents the bride and groom should rise. If the reception is such that everyone is standing, the bride and groom should just smile as the toasts are made and should not drink to a toast made to themselves.
If the bride and groom make a toast together, the bride and groom do not speak in unison, but stand together and take turns speaking.
How do a bride and groom respond to a toast? They do not rise or drink, but simply smile and nod in acknowlegement with a simple “Thank-You.”
What is said during a toast? It is best to prepare a toast ahead of time. You don’t want to ramble on and on, and you might be more nervous or emotional than you think you will be. If you plan it out ahead of time you are more likely to remember the point(s) you want to make. Keep what you want to say short and sweet. The spotlight should always be on the bride and groom. This is not the time for long stories or humorous anecdotes. Those are more appropriate for the rehearsal dinner.
For some ideas for some wedding toasts, go to: http://quotations.about.com/cs/weddingtoasts/a/bls_wed_toasts.htm or